If I stick to the same speed (e.g. do not mix say 9 speed and 10 speed), can I mix the brand of chain and missing link safely. For instance, can I use a Shimano missing link on a KMC chain, or should I only use KMC links on KMC chains and SRAM links on SRAM chains?
2I’m certain this question was asked previously. I think the answer was: manufacturers so no but many people do, it’s fine– Argenti ApparatusJan 10, 2019 at 23:31
Shimano recommends their 9 &10 speed chains be reconnected utilizing the specific speed link pin, which is inserted with a chain tool. In my experience, there has not been any issue, including noise, using KMC's "Missing Link" or SRAM's "Power Link" to join a Shimano chain. Note that SRAM's 10 speed link is termed "Power Lock" and is suggested for use "one time only" because of the tighter tolerances present in ten speed systems. In practice, these can be used multiple times, no problem, but I base this on reading others' assessments not my own experience. Shimano's 11 & 12 speed systems use a connecting link, the "QuickLink."
Typically bike shops I frequent have KMC, SRAM, and Wipperman (whose product is called "Connex") connecting links to choose from. Prices are similar between brands within same speed categories. Connex are a bit more money it appears to me. At any rate, based on the selection, why not stay within same brand for chain and connecting link? Regarding Shimano, I use the replacement link pin but again, no problems have been noted by myself or others when a Shimano chain is joined with a connecting link from SRAM or KMC. Wipperman's design is shaped differently which may limit it to their brand of chains only. I neither have experience with nor seen anecdotal evidence to say whether a Connex link will work with other brands of chain.
1Note that SRAM's 10 speed link is termed "power lock" and is suggested for use "one time only" because of the tighter tolerances... The cynic in me says it's not because of "tighter tolerances", it's to make you buy more of them... Jan 11, 2019 at 16:12
I tend to agree. There seems to be plenty of "planned obsolescence" within the bicycling industry as well.– JeffJan 12, 2019 at 0:11
I've used SRAM and KMC missing links on 9- and 10-speed Shimano chains for years.
Shimano missing link
Good luck finding those, though...
Try searching for shimano quick link– SwiftyJan 11, 2019 at 17:38
@Swifty Must be a new thing that I missed - and they seem to be 11-speed only. Shimano ignored quick links for so long that I just went with KMC. And given the pricing I find online, doesn't look like I'm going to be leaving KMC, either... Jan 11, 2019 at 18:03
Almost certainly, but do your homework.
At 9-speed, Campagnolo and Wippermann chains are slightly wider than the SRAM. So, Wippermann quick link works with Campagnolo but SRAM does not. There are probably combinations with similar issues at 10 and 11 speeds.